Off-road vehicles. I don’t know anyone who drives one. What I know
about Fronteras and the like is as much as any other punter: just what
the ads tell me.
What they tell me is that the hills and moors are alive with the
throbbing of large engines, hundreds of them, each with a chisel-chinned
man complete with big shirt sitting manfully at the wheel.
Who are these rugged new men? Solitary, keen to get so far into the wild
that only a 4WD can get them there. I’m thankful that on the rare
occasions I have struck for the hills, I haven’t encountered a Nissan
Probe or a Ford Maverick thundering over the bluff.
Where do these vehicles, driven by solitary men with a hankering for the
wild, drive? Surely, if you were caught snarling up someone’s barley
field in your state-of-the-art Mitsubishi Shogun you’d be in for a spot
Maybe there’s something butch and macho about a whacking great chunk of
metal with bull-bars on the front. They should use them in the army.
Only they don’t. They leave the Shoguns and Isuzu Troopers for the
solitary men to roam the high hills alone. Only the solitary men don’t
drive the off-roaders either. They drive real cars and hike and camp and
skin rabbits with their teeth.
So who drives the 4WDs? People who buy the advertisers’ dream of getting
away from the crowds and who then drive off to somewhere like Cornwall
and clog up the tiny roads that are much better suited to a Ford Fiesta,
Send your rants to Belinda Archer, Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road,
London W6 7JP.